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Erik ten Hag makes Manchester United move he once called a “mortal sin”



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In a resurfaced interview, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag criticised Donny van de Beek for being treated as a peripheral member of the club months before he would become the team’s manager.

The Dutch midfielder, who was a favourite under Ten Hag during the manager’s time at Ajax, has failed to cement his position amongst the Red Devils starting XI since his arrival.

Brought to the club by Ten Hag’s predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjær in August of 2020, it has been a period of turmoil, injuries, and a lack of game time in what should have been some of the highlight seasons of the Dutchman’s career.

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Starting just six league games for United in the 40 months since he signed, any hope that the arrival of his former manager Ten Hag may see a change in his fortunes has proven false.

Before he was reunited with his former player, Ten Hag admitted the midfielder’s game time at Manchester United was unacceptable.

Speaking to the media in December of 2021 about his then-former player, Ten Hag remarked: “[It’s a] mortal sin. If you haven’t had a chance yet, then development will also stall. Every now and then, you encourage them.”

Despite Ten Hag’s analysis before becoming Manchester United manager, it became clear that the midfielder’s fortunes would not be changing at the club.

Under Ten Hag’s leadership, Donny would remain an infrequent member of the matchday squad, before a serious knee injury ruled him out of the second half of the 22/23 season.

This season Van de Beek was trusted to play in just two games, coming off the bench in consecutive games against Crystal Palace. Alongside this, he was excluded from the club’s Champions League squad, with Ten Hag therefore making the exact move he once frowned upon.

Eight different midfielders have as much game time for the club in the league as Van de Beek this season, leading to the 26-year-old leaving the club for Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt on loan with an option-to-buy.

Speaking at his unveiling for the German side, Van de Beek acknowledged that his time in Manchester was “tough”, but, he had a “good feeling” about his move to Frankfurt.